Does Dating Feel Like An Audition To You?

Feel like you're auditioning to be your date's Next Top Girlfriend/Boyfriend? You're not alone! Here, a slew of Hollywood showbiz professionals offer tips to help you score the part you're after.

By Judy Dutton

ating, says Kelly Clarkson, "is like an American Idol audition. The worst [singers] are the most confident, and the same thing goes for my dating life. The worst guys are the most
Re-read the emails so the person thinks you cared enough to pay attention.
confident with me. The problem isn't getting offers — the problem is getting offers from someone you like, you know? It's really hard to find."

Clarkson's comparison couldn't be more accurate: Dating does feel a lot like an audition. Which is why we've decided to ask some of Hollywood's top auditioning pros — actors, agents, and managers — for their best tips on how to wow someone romantically. Heed their advice to calm your jitters and pull off a stellar performance, and plenty of callbacks may be in your future!

Rehearse your lines
"If actors have a script to read from, they'd better have it memorized from start to finish," says Kyle Erickson, a publicist who's worked with celebrities like Montel Williams and has placed his clients on programs like The Today Show and Good Morning America. "Similarly, if you are on your way to meet someone and you have been corresponding beforehand via email or telephone, make sure you pay attention to what the other person says. Re-read the emails so the person thinks you cared enough to pay attention. Bringing up something small that [this person] said about [himself or herself] can be the catalyst for the second date. If [your date] told you something [personal] that is important and you completely ignored it or forgot about it, you lose, every time. It really is the little things."

Arrive on time
"Arriving 15 minutes early to your audition can say a lot about you and your work ethic while also conveying a sense of reliability to the casting director. This holds true for dates as well," Erickson explains. "If you show up at a restaurant late for the very first date with someone, that can translate into an immediate barrier going up between the two of you. If you can't be counted on to be on time to a date, the other party will assume that you won't be on time for other important things down the road. Timing truly is everything."

Do not apologize
"During an audition, and actor becomes [his or her] own worst critic," Erickson warns. "Sometimes [he or she will] feel the need to explain to the director, or provide excuses or apologies. This happens on first dates all the time! Someone will be aggressively apologetic and get into [his or her] own head so deeply that it will ruin the experience." A better strategy, says Erickson, is to decide that if you flub something, you'll just move on. "You may slip up on your lines. You trip on the stage. This stuff happens. But if you let it ruin the audition, you have failed," Erickson says. "Simply move past it and regain your composure; even laughing at yourself can show humility. On a date, if you spill [something] on yourself or say something ridiculous, just make
Having fun on an audition is always one of my main goals.
light of the situation and carry on as if nothing happened. No one wants someone who sweats the small stuff — women, men, or casting directors!"

Realize that your date is on your side
"Many actors feel as though the [people they're auditioning for] are 'the enemy.' They get so nervous about the process that they psyche themselves out and don't deliver," says Holly Buczek of HDB Casting, a company that helps prepare actors for auditions. "But the truth is, everyone behind the table in an audition room is hoping that you are The One. We are all rooting for everyone that comes through the door. I imagine [that], especially if you are meeting on a blind or first date, it is the same situation. That person is dying for you to be The One."

Hit 'em with your best shot
As Leigh Peterson from Jerry Bruno Productions, a music agency in Cleveland, OH points out, "We don't want to sit through a 20-minute audition or even a three-minute song and have to wait until the end to hear what you've really got." Instead, she advises singers to start the song at the chorus — and the same holds true for dating as well. "You don't want to sit through a four-hour date sitting in the movies," Peterson says. "Open up! Give us all you've got." So how does this apply to dating? Avoid venues where you don't have to speak with each other, like movie theaters, concerts, plays, biking, or anything where you can't interact that much. Instead, plan a date where you two can talk — i.e., dinner, coffee, or a walk in the park — so you can get to know each other quickly and decide if you two will click.

Go with the flow
"Being flexible is a trait that will impress both casting directors and people you're dating," says Suzanna Mathews, a working actress and dating coach in Wichita, KS. "A casting director may ask you to read a different way or change your look, and if you're unwilling to play along, you could lose out on the part. Likewise, people get annoyed when their dates don't (or won't) show a certain amount of spontaneity or willingness to try new things." So if your date suggests trying something outside your comfort zone — regardless of whether it's a laser-tag date or simply trying the new Ethiopian restaurant in town — go for it! You'll not only expand your horizons, you'll also prove to your date that you're an adventurous soul.

Even if your date isn't The One, it's great practice
"Even if the date is not Mr. (or Ms.) Right, have a blast being out and getting to meet someone new," urges Stacey Nelkin, actress, relationship expert, and founder of Consider it to be good practice for the time when you do meet someone you truly want to impress. And overall, even if you don't want to see this person again, try to have fun! Casting directors can tell if you're just going through the motions; the true standouts are the actors who genuinely enjoy themselves on the stage, and the same is also true for dating. "Having fun on an audition is always one of my main goals," says Goldman. "Get to be that character for those wild, fun 10 minutes in the audition. Be in the moment. It's all about the process — not the results!"

Judy Dutton ( is the author of Secrets from the Sex Lab and Science Fair Season: Twelve Kids, a Robot Named Scorch…and What It Takes to Win.
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